How to Close Perfectly: An Interview with James Muir

How to Close Perfectly: An Interview with James Muir

“Sales is the ONE thing that I will NEVER do.” -Donnie Tuttle circa 2002.

Before I fell in love with the greatest profession on earth (sales), I was petrified by the idea of influencing others and asking them for their business. The granddaddy of all of those fears for me was the closing question. Sixteen years later, it has become one of my favorite parts of the sales process. It wasn’t until I started coaching others that I found that most salespeople struggle with this part of the sale.  According to James Muir, who is featured on the Sell ANYWHERE Podcast, 50-90% of all sales presentations are missing a closing or advancing question.

When it’s bad, it’s BAD.

Done wrong, it just sucks. It makes buyers feel uncomfortable. It makes salespeople question their own motives. I am pretty sure that I have visibly watched closing words leave my mouth, like a wounded bird, then awkwardly clang to the ground as my bewildered prospect said a variation of “no” in slow motion. Here is how a typical presentation ends. After over-sharing information that could have been read from a brochure, the salesperson says something like: “So, would you like it delivered tomorrow or next week?” Or, “So what do you think?” These are just two examples of crash landings I have heard at the end of presentations.

Closing Is About Calibration

Hopefully, your whole presentation has been calibrated to the prospect’s needs and wants. How do we calibrate? By asking questions. And repeating back what we hear. When should we ask questions? Throughout the entire presentation. So closing doesn’t just happen at the end–it happens THROUGHOUT the presentation.

We coach people on 15 different ways to calibrate and close throughout the appointment. In this interview, James Muir has really simplified the heart of the whole thing by sharing the secret sauce of his book, The Perfect Close (please check it out on Amazon).

Here is how you do it:

  • Have an “ideal outcome” and two fall-backs prepared. What would the best outcome from the meeting be?
  • Ask for it this way, “Does it make sense for us to ____?”
    • If no, “What do you think is a good next step then?”
    • If YES, “For other clients in this same place, what we did was ______. Does ______ make sense to you?”

There are multiple varieties of this question. Muir has shared those with us here.

It doesn’t have to be hard or uncomfortable.

In fact, it shouldn’t be. If you are asking the same question over and over, it will be difficult and uncomfortable. Learn different ways to ask questions that advance the sale. Practice them. When you deliver the question, do it with a servant’s heart that understands that you are only helping someone if you help them come to a conclusion. Make sure your voice is low and slow. Be relaxed and have fun with it!

Check out the AMAZING value that “Pure” Muir brings in this interview with yours truly.

Here are some additional notes from the interview:

Key takeaways and quotes:

  • Be prepared
  • Never let your professionalism take away your approachability with your family
  • Plan key dates and work business around those
  • Know your presentation so that you could do it without technology
  • Clarity around purpose will help you move faster and more effectively
  • 50-90% of all sales conversations don’t have an advancing/closing question at all
  • The story of Kaiba Gionfriddo-and the sale that saved his life.
  • The Perfect Close Tactical Guide-coming soon!
  • Tactical Prospecting Book Coming Soon too!

Reach James on his website

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